Sunday, December 23, 2007

The “God-bearer”

Doctrine matters, and no doctrine matters more than the doctrine concerning Jesus Christ.

Nestorius was the last of the major Christological heretics in the early church. He objected to the church’s declaration that Mary was the “God-bearer,” the “theotokos.” No human being can give birth to God, he thought, and he preferred to say that Mary was “Christ-bearer.”

At the Council of Chalcedon, the church insisted on the term “God-bearer” and addressed the larger questions of Nestorianism by saying that the divine and human were united without confusion in the one Person of Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son.

So what? What does matter if Mary was God-bearer or not?

It matters because it shapes the way we read the gospel story. Is the gospel story about a man working in tandem with God, or is it the human history of God? Is the birth of Jesus a purely human birth, or is it the human birth of God? Is the death of Jesus only a human death, or is it the human death of God?

Behind all these questions is the question of whether God actually entered human life. Nestorius could not believe that God entered into such close intimacy with creation. The church disagreed: God the Son entered fully into human life, from conception through death to the grave. He lived human life from the inside to redeem human life. What is not assumed is not redeemed.

Advent is a season of preparation, which includes repentance. During this Advent season, examine yourself and repent not only of your sinful actions but your false beliefs, and especially your false beliefs about Jesus. ~ Peter Leithart

Monday, December 10, 2007

Medieval Christmas Concert

A Wonderful annual event..."A Medieval Christmas Concert!"

Left to right: Christina David, Chris Whittington, Kemper Crabb, Frank Hart, Johnny Simmons

(Those 4 guys are my good friends!)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jeff Meyers on Christmas

Christians that attack Christmas and Easter as pagan holidays, usually go to churches that make a big to-do about New Year's day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, and the Fourth of July. The annual cycle in America is truly becoming paganized. The Baalism of nationalism that commemorates the victories of the nation and celebrates all kinds of political "saints" (George Washington, Martin Luther King Jr., Christopher Columbus, etc.) is in the process of replacing the festivals of the church commemorating the life and work of Jesus Christ and the triumphs of his Church in history. ~ Jeff Meyers

One of my favorite articles on my favorite time of year. Read the whole series and get rid of some old sacred cows, silly myths, and your inner scrooge, starting here:

and continued here:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Religion Externalized

from George Grant's blog:

Culture is simply a worldview made evident. It is basic beliefs worked out into habits of life. It is theology translated into sociology. Culture is a very practical expression of the common faith of a community or a people or a nation. Culture is, as Henry Van Til famously quipped, "religion externalized."

...the remarkable prosperity of the West was directly attributable to the cultural, personal, and ethical prevalence of the Christian tradition. In contrast to so many other cultures around the globe, where freedoms and opportunities were severely limited and where poverty and suffering abounded, Weber found that faith brought men and nations both liberty and prosperity.

I wish the church would remember this!!!

read the rest here:

Is The Gospel in The Gospels?

"I believe the Gospel is clearly stated in the Gospels and that we are often in danger of misunderstanding Paul's teaching because we have marginalized the Gospels. Otherwise stated, the Gospels ought to constrain our reading of Paul. To reverse this is backwards. For example, Matthew tells us that Jesus preached the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matt. 4:23), then he gives the content of his preaching of the Gospel in the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. If we don't like that, then we ought to change our narrow definition of the Gospels."

Read the rest here:

Monday, November 12, 2007

A More Sure Word!

"Peter treasured the memory of the Transfiguration for many years, and he brings it up in his second letter. Consider the thought presented in 2 Peter 1:16-21. The Word was confirmed with certainty from heaven, and we who have the Scriptures have a more certain word than that. If we think about this for a moment, we should realize we do not really understand our gospel privileges." ~ Doug Wilson

Sunday, November 11, 2007


It must be noted that worship is not praise and it does not consist of "feeling worshipful." In both Hebrew and Greek, worship means service. When Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, he said that he was going to worship. He did not mean that they were going to go to Moriah, break out the guitars and overhead projector for a little P & W. He meant that he was going to serve God, by doing what was commanded. When Isaiah said, "Here am I, Lord, send me," that was worship. And this helps make sense of Romans 12:1-2 — the presentation of our bodies to God is our spiritual worship. –D. Wilson

‘Worship’ is identified today with singing songs at church. This is unfortunate because it leads us to think that if only we have the right techniques, get all happy with goose bumps and “feel worshipful,” then we are having “a time of worship.” But worship is not singing. Singing can be an expression of worship, but worship is not singing…or clapping or shouting or dancing. What, then, is worship? Worship in general is a certain kind of life, expressing itself as a result of the recognition and acknowledgment of God as GOD. One biblical definition of worship is given in Romans 12:1-2. When we offer ourselves as living sacrifices we declare that God is God, that He is the Sovereign, Loving, Creator and Sustainer of life. We declare the supreme worth of God, not just by saying that He is worthy, but by giving up everything to Him. Worship is not just the offering of a few sentiments. Worship is offering yourself, putting yourself at His disposal, prostrate before Him. It is not something you tack on to the rest of your busy life. It is your life – your whole life offered to God.

But just a word of caution here, “The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” (Psa 87:2)

“I think that what people sometimes mean when they say "all of life is worship," is that corporate, Lord's Day worship is no more special than our everyday devotions during the week. That is not true. The Lord's Day assembly is central, and what happens in "formal worship" on The Lord’s Day orients one's entire life. We learn how to think and act in a distinctively Christian way by participating in the weekly rituals of worship. Sunday is special. On the Lord's Day we are called together as the bride and body of Christ for corporate worship. “All of life” is worship only in a metaphorical (though real) sense. You can work with a worshipful attitude. That's fine. You can and should, by faith, work for the glory of God, keeping His law! That's great, too. But working with that motivation, goal, and according to God's standard comes about as the result of proper Sunday corporate worship. This highlights a dangerous tendency these days towards individualizing and mentalizing "worship." If a person can "worship" God in everything he does, then worship has been reduced to something that happens inside an individual's head rather than what they do - hearing, speaking, singing, kneeling, standing, eating, drinking, etc. - with the body of Christ in the assembly.” ~ Jeff Meyers

The result is nothing less than metamorphosis, transformation, being conformed to the Image of Christ. REAL, LASTING CHANGE. If you are not being transformed then you aren’t worshipping.

Where the confusion comes in is the English word "worship" is much closer to the idea of praise. Worship comes from the Middle English worshipe, worthiness, honor, from Old English weorthscipe: weorth, worth. See worth + -scipe, -ship.

Plainly, "to ascribe worth to." Which is much closer to the Biblical concept of praise.


1. 4352. proskuneo, pros-koo-neh'-o; from G4314 and a prob. der. ofG2965 (mean. to kiss, like a dog licking his master's hand); to fawn or crouch to, i.e. (lit. or fig.) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adored—worship. 60x
a. 4353. proskunetes, pros-koo-nay-tace'; from G4352; an adorer:-worshipper. 1x

2. 1391. doxa, dox'-ah; from the base ofG1380; glory (as very apparent), in awide application (lit. or fig., obj. or subj.):-dignity, glory (-ious), honour, praise, worship. 1x

3. 3000. latreuo, lat-ryoo'-o; from latris (a hired menial); to minister (to God), i.e. render religious homage:—serve, do the service, worship (-per). 4x

4. 4576. sebomai, seb'-om-ahee; mid. of an appar. prim. verb; to revere, i.e. adore:—devout, religious, worship. 6x
a. 2151. eusebeo, yoo-seb-eh'-o; from G2152; to be pious; i.e. (towards God) to worship, or (towards parents) to respect (supports-show piety, worship. 1x
b. 2318. theosebes, theh-os-eb-ace'; from G2316 and G4576; reverent of God, i.e. pious:—worshipper of God. 1x
c. 4573. sebazomai, seb-ad'-zom-ahee; mid. from a der. of G4576; to venerate, i.e. adorer-worship. 1x
d. 4574. sebasma, seb'-as-mah; from G4573; something adored, i.e. an object of worship (god, altar, etc.):—devotion, that is worshipped. 1x

5. 2356. threskeia, thrace-ki'-ah; from a der. ofG2357; ceremonial observance:—religion, worshipping 1x
a. 1479. ethelothreskeia, eth-el-oth-race-ki'-ah; from G2309 and G2356; voluntary (arbitrary and unwarranted) piety, i.e. sanctimony:—will worship. 1x

6. 2323. therapeuo, ther-ap-yoo'-o; from the same as G2324; to wait upon menially, i.e. (fig.) to adore (God), or (spec.) to relieve (of disease):—cure, heal, worship. 1x

7. 3511. neokoros, neh-o-kor'-os; from a form ofG3485 and koreo (to sweep); a temple-servant, i.e. (by impl.) a votary:—worshipper. (only used as "worship" of Diana) 1x


1. 7812. shachah, shaw-khaw'; a prim. root; to depress, i.e. prostrate (espec. reflex, in homage to royalty or God):—bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship. 99x

2. 5647. 'abad, aw-bad'; a prim. root; to work (in any sense); by impl. to serve, till, (caus.) enslave, etc.:- X be, keep in bondage, be bondmen, bond-service, compel, do, dress, ear, execute, + husbandman, keep, labour (-ing man), bring to pass, (cause to, make to) serve (-ing, self), (be, become) servant (-s), do (use) service, till (-er), transgress [from margin], (set a) work, be wrought, worshipper. (only used as "worship" of Baal) 5x

3. 6087. 'atsab, aw-tsab'; a prim. root; prop. to carve, i.e. fabricate or fashion; hence (in a bad sense) to worry, pain or anger:—displease, grieve, hurt, make, be sorry, vex, worship, wrest. (only used as "worship" of The Queen of Heaven) 1x

4. 5457. cegid, (Chald.), seg-eed'; corresp. to H5456:-worship.
a. 5456. cagad, saw-gad'; a prim. root; to prostrate oneself (in homage):—fall down. (only found in Daniel) 12x

* includes all forms of the word, Worshipping, Worshipper(s), Worshipped, Worshippeth

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Praise-- (from The American Heritage Dictionary) 1. Expression of approval, commendation, or admiration. 2. The extolling or exaltation of a deity, ruler, or hero.

Approval is "to consider right or good; think or speak favorably of."
Commend is "to represent as worthy, qualified, or desirable."
Admiration is "a feeling of keen approbation." (an expression of warm approval)

Where the word comes from:

Middle English: preise, from preisen, to praise, from Old French preisier, from Late Latin pretiâre, to prize, from Latin pretium, price.

So in "praise" we are attempting to "price" God and we are "prizing" Him.

Praise is also a very well defined term in scripture. Basically there are seven Hebrew words translated as “praise” in the King James Bible and lay a foundation for discovering what this concept entails. Briefly defined:

Barak--to bless (kneel is the root) the New Testament equivalent is "eulogeo" which means "to speak well of"

Halal--to boast about, (in a clamorously foolish manner) --yadah, towdah and shabach combined

Yadah --lit. "hands to God" (hands representing our lives...all that we are, have, and do) offering ourselves to God

Towdah--also "hands to God," but the idea here is "with thanksgiving," acknowledging Him as THE Source of all

Zamar --with song, lit. to pluck a stringed instrument; with music. This is where singing praises comes in.

Shabach--LOUDLY! The idea here is "unashamedly" and "boldly" without reservation.

Tehillah--is to "sing halal" (Halal + Zamar)

And to further narrow it down...
The first two words in the list, Barak and Halal, are the precise ideas of what is meant by praise, i.e. 'to bless' God and 'to boast' about God...He being "the object and subject of our praise," His attributes and actions being the primary source material...Praise is to be about Him! Everything else is simply an accompanying action or attitude we take while we praise Him. The other 5 words above are actually “accompaniers” of praise...with our lives, in gratitude, with singing, with music and loudly.

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. {2} Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. {3} Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. {4} Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. {5} Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. {6} Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. --(Psa 150 KJV)

Every word for "praise" in the preceding Psalm is the Hebrew word "halal." And the Psalm describes how we should boast about Him or what should/may accompany our boasting about God. Thus, much of what we call "praise" in our corporate gathering is not necessarily "praise to God."

Also note that simply playing any of the instruments listed in the above passage or dancing or singing or merely lifting our hands does not constitute praise in and of itself, (unbelievers do those things at parties, concerts & sporting events all the time,) unless it is accompanying our boasting about God--"halal." Even repeating the phrases, "Praise the Lord" or "Hallelujah" is not praise per se, but rather they are exhortations or commands to do so.

Telling God of our intention to praise Him, or how we will praise Him, is NOT the same as praising Him. What ends up happening many times is we praise our ability to praise, or we are in essence, "praising praise."

Now, where do we get our source material\words for praise? From Scripture and Scriptural ideas, of course. But, and this may surprise you, not all of Scripture is meant to be subject matter for "praise to God". There are even a number of the Psalms that do not qualify for "praise to God." And some Psalms may be intended for the privacy of the individual prayer closet. Some are not intended as "Praise to God", unless they are adapted for that purpose. In fact, many of the Psalms are simply instructions on "how to" praise the Lord, or exhortations/commands to praise the Lord. And some are imprecatory prayers, ie. curses upon enemies.

So then, this is what many have done with praise... they’ve read the instructions on how to praise... and they even know how to praise, but they are content with just simply rehearsing, repeating, singing and even raving about the commands, exhortations and instructions to praise, but then never really get around to actually praising Him. So they end up rejoicing in their knowledge about praise or rejoicing about their ability to praise, and never actually do the thing they claim or intend to do...boast about and bless God. This is the difference between "worshiping worship" and "worshiping God."

“If often surprises people to learn that God is not always pleased when people worship him. We might be inclined to think that God should be thankful for any attention we give him out of our busy schedules. But worship is not about God’s thanking us; it is about our thanking him. And God is not pleased with just anything we choose to do in his presence. The mighty Lord of heaven and earth demands that our worship- indeed, all of life- be governed by his word.” ~ John Frame

Monday, October 29, 2007

Conversations with Nathan

Many years ago, David Chilton took his son Nathan to a special service at an area church.

Oh, the things kids say! Read it here:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween: A Distinctly Christian Holiday

Halloween: A Distinctly Christian Holiday--- by James B. Jordan

A Discernment Exercise

It has become routine in October for some Christian schools to send out letters warning parents about the evils of Halloween, and it has become equally routine for me to be asked questions about this matter.

“Halloween” is simply a contraction for All Hallow’s Eve (Hallow-Even—Hallow-E’n—Halloween). The word “hallow” means “saint,” in that “hallow” is just an alternative form of the word “holy” (“hallowed be Thy name”). All Saints’ Day is November 1. It is the celebration of the victory of the saints in union with Christ. The observance of various celebrations of All Saints arose in the late 300s, and these were united and fixed on November 1 in the late 700s. The origin of All Saints Day and All Saints Eve in Mediterranean Christianity had nothing to do with Celtic Druidism or the Church’s fight against Druidism (assuming there ever was any such thing as Druidism, which is actually a myth concocted in the 19th century by neo-pagans).

In the First Covenant, the war between God’s people and God’s enemies was fought on the human level against Egyptians, Assyrians, etc. With the coming of the New Covenant, however, we are told that our primary battle is against principalities and powers, against fallen angels who bind the hearts and minds of men in ignorance and fear. We are assured that through faith, prayer, and obedience, the saints will be victorious in our battle against these demonic forces. The Spirit assures us: “The God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly” (Romans 16:20).

The Festival of All Saints reminds us that though Jesus has finished His work, we have not finished ours. He has struck the decisive blow, but we have the privilege of working in the “mopping up operation.” Thus, century by century the Christian faith has rolled back the demonic realm of ignorance, fear, and superstition. Though things look bad in the Western world today, this work continues to make progress in Asia and Africa and Latin America.

The Biblical day begins in the preceding evening, and thus in the Church calendar, the eve of a day is the actual beginning of the festive day. Christmas Eve is most familiar to us, but there is also the Vigil of Holy Saturday that preceeds Easter Morn. Similarly, All Saints’ Eve precedes All Saints’ Day.

The concept, as dramatized in Christian custom, is quite simple: on October 31, the demonic realm tries one last time to achieve victory, but is banished by the joy of the Kingdom.

What is the means by which the demonic realm is vanquished? In a word: mockery. Satan’s great sin (and our great sin) is pride. Thus, to drive Satan from us, we ridicule him. This is why the custom arose of portraying Satan in a ridiculous red suit with horns and a tail. Nobody thinks the devil really looks like this; the Bible teaches that he is the fallen Arch-Cherub. Rather, the idea is to ridicule him because he has lost the battle with Jesus and he no longer has power over us. (The tradition of mocking Satan and defeating him through joy and laughter plays a large role in Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” which is a Halloween novel.)

The gargoyles that were placed on the churches of old had the same meaning. They symbolized the Church ridiculing the enemy—they stick out their tongues and make faces at those who would assault the Church. Gargoyles are not demonic; they are believers ridiculing the defeated demonic army.

Thus, the defeat of evil and of demonic powers is associated with Halloween. For this reason, Martin Luther posted his 95 challenges to the wicked practices of the Church on the door of the Wittenberg chapel on Halloween. He picked his day with care, and ever since, Halloween has also been Reformation Day.

Similarly, on All Hallows’ Eve, the custom arose of mocking the demonic realm by dressing children in costumes. Because the power of Satan has been broken once and for all, our children can mock him by dressing up like ghosts, goblins, and witches. The fact that we can dress our children this way shows our supreme confidence in the utter defeat of Satan by Jesus Christ—we have NO FEAR!

I don’t have the resources to check the historical origins of all Halloween customs, and doubtless they have varied from time to time and from Christian land to Christian land. “Trick or treat” doubtless originated simply enough: something fun for kids to do. Like anything else, this custom can be perverted, and there have been times when “tricking” involved really mean actions by teenagers and was banned from some localities.

We can hardly object, however, to children collecting candy from friends and neighbors. This might not mean much to us today, because we are so prosperous that we have candy whenever we want, but in earlier generations people were not so well off, and obtaining some candy or other treats was special. There is no reason to pour cold water on an innocent custom like this.

Similarly, the jack-o’-lantern’s origins are unknown. Hollowing out a gourd or some other vegetable, carving a face, and putting a lamp inside it is something that no doubt has occurred quite independently to tens of thousands of ordinary people in hundreds of cultures worldwide over the centuries. Since people lit their homes with candles, decorating the candles and the candle-holders was a routine part of life designed to make the home attractive or interesting. Potatoes, turnips, beets, and any number of other items were used.

Wynn Parks writes of an incident he observed: “An English friend had managed to remove the skin of a tangerine in two intact halves. After carving eyes and nose in one hemisphere and a mouth in the other, he poured cooking oil over the pith sticking up in the lower half and lit the readymade wick. With its upper half on, the tangerine skin formed a miniature jack-o’-lantern. But my friend seemed puzzled that I should call it by that name. ‘What should I call it? Why a tangerine head, I suppose.’” (Parks, “The Head of the Dead,” The World & I, November 1994, p. 270.)

In the New World, people soon learned that pumpkins were admirably suited for this purpose. The jack-o’-lantern is nothing but a decoration; and the leftover pumpkins can be scraped again, roasted, and turned into pies and muffins.

In some cultures, what we call a jack-o’-lantern represented the face of a dead person, whose soul continued to have a presence in the fruit or vegetable used. But this has no particular relevance to Halloween customs. Did your mother tell you, while she carved the pumpkin, that this represented the head of a dead person with his soul trapped inside? Of course not. Symbols and decorations, like words, mean different things in different cultures, in different languages, and in different periods of history. The only relevant question is “what does it mean now?”—and nowadays it is only a decoration.

And even if some earlier generation did associate the jack-o’-lantern with a soul in a head, so what? They did not take it seriously. It was just part of the joking mockery of heathendom by Christian people.

This is a good place to note that many articles in books, magazines, and encyclopedias are written by secular humanists or even the pop-pagans of the so-called “New Age” movement. (An example is the article by Wynn Parks cited above.) These people actively suppress the Christian associations of historic customs, and try to magnify the pagan associations. They do this to try to make paganism acceptable and downplay Christianity. Thus, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc., are said to have pagan origins. Not true.

Oddly, some fundamentalist Christians have been influenced by these slanted views of history. These fundamentalists do not accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of Western history, American history, and science, but sometimes they do accept the humanist and pagan rewriting of the origins of Halloween and Christmas, the Christmas tree, etc. We can hope that in time these brethren will reexamine these matters as well. We ought not to let the pagans do our thinking for us.

Nowadays, children often dress up as superheroes, and the original Christian meaning of Halloween has been absorbed into popular culture. Also, with the present fad of “designer paganism” in the so-called New Age movement, some Christians are uneasy with dressing their children as spooks. So be it. But we should not forget that originally Halloween was a Christian custom, and there is no solid reason why Christians cannot enjoy it as such even today.

“He who sits in the heavens laughs; Yahweh ridicules them” says Psalm 2. Let us join in His holy laughter and mock the enemies of Christ on October 31.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Not Willing That ANY Should Perish

Any, All, Whole...not so sticky after all.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


A U.S. Senate subcommittee report estimated that if every Christian family would only take care of its own, the federal dole would decrease a full 30 percent. If every church would then take care of its own, the dole would decrease another 12 percent. And then, if each of those churches would provide a sponsoring family to exercise charity to a single outsider, the federal dole could be eliminated completely. Just like that. Families simply fulfilling their Christian responsibility to their own (1 Timothy 5:8), to their brethren in Christ (Galatians 6:10), and to the stranger and alien (Exodus 23:9) can so effectively do the work of charity that no back-up system, no federal bureaucracy, no matching funds, and no professional humanitarians are necessary. Families can do the job. ~ George Grant, "Bringing In The Sheaves - Replacing Government Welfare with Biblical Charity"

Friday, October 12, 2007

All The Time

What "All" means, Biblically speaking.

... "the whole world has gone after him" Did all the world go after Christ? "then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan." Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan? "Ye are of God, little children", and the whole world lieth in the wicked one". Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words "world" and "all" are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the "all" means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts -- some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile ... ~ C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption

Dr Kennedy's humorous illustration is just great!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

His Visage Was So Marred

I’ve come to the conclusion that the main reason we don't like watching the crucifixion is not that we have some noble feelings for Jesus going through such pain, you know, compassion and all that. But rather that his appearance is a perfect reflection of the corruption of our hearts.

(Isa 52:14) As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.

Yes I know, most applications of this verse are made in regards to Jesus' literal appearance on the cross. But figuratively speaking, from the vantage point of the Jews of his day and right from the start of his public ministry, his "appearance" was so "disfigured" because their hearts, (like ours,) were so disfigured that they didn't recognize him for Who he was. That disfigurement was then unleashed upon Jesus when he went to Calvary. On the cross, He is "our heart" nailed there. Nasty, isn't it?

...and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My new blog

just setting up for now. hopefully, i'll be posting later this fall.